How does the Xact Ultrasonic Tank Monitor work?

Ultrasonic sensors use sound waves to calculate the distance from the sensor itself to some kind of target object, which in the case of tank monitoring is the top of the liquid fill level inside of the tank. Sensors are able to do this by using what is called a transducer, a component of the device that emits an acoustic ‘PING’ to send sound waves through the bottom of the tank. These sound waves then travel through the fuel to the top of the fill level, bounce off the surface, then travel back to the transducer which receives the a return echo of the sound waves. The device is then able to calculate the fill level using “time of flight”, or length of time it took the sound waves from the ‘PING’  to travel to the top of the fill level and back down to the transducer.

Xact Ultrasonic LPG Tank Monitor

Why does Ultrasonic Matter?

Ultrasonic readings are important for 2 key reasons:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Compatible with any tank, even those with rotary gauges. No reliance on Remote Ready Technology.

Accuracy

The Xact Ultrasonic system has an accuracy of ±1% for tanks under 6,000 gallons and ±2% for tanks up to 90,000 gallons. In comparison, standard mechanical gauges for LP Gas list an accuracy that can range from ±4% to ±8%. In addition, most gauge readers have an accuracy to within ±3% of the gauges current reading, leaving room for a total of an 11% inaccuracy.

To put this into perspective, we’ve done a little math to show what these accuracy difference can add up to when using tank monitors to manage your inventory:

Let’s say we’re monitoring 120 gallon tank with a current fill level is 50%. Looking at the chart below, let’s see what these inaccuracies means in terms of gallons measured by a tank monitor:

Ultrasonic readings for 120 gallon tank

Metric

Mechanical Gauge Gauge Reader Tank Monitor

Ultrasonic Tank Monitor

Actual Tank
Fill Level

120 gallon tank with 60 gallons of fuel. 50% fill level 120 gallon tank with 60 gallons of fuel. 50% fill level 120 gallon tank with 60 gallons of fuel. 50% fill level

Measurement Reading

+8% = 58% fill = 64.8 gallons
-8% = 42% fill = 55.2 gallons
 +11% = 61% = 73.2 gallons
-11% = 39% = 46.8 gallons
+1% = 51% = 61.2 gallons
-1% = 49% = 58.8 gallons

Gallons Inaccurate

± 4.8 gallon inaccurate ± 13.2 gallons inaccurate ± 1.2 gallons inaccurate

In this scenario, the Ultrasonic system inaccuracy is 1.2 gallons, while gauge inaccuracy can range from 4.8 gallons to 13.2 gallons. This may not seem like much, and it isn’t! Gauge reader measurements are often good enough for monitoring smaller tanks. However, you may imagine that this inaccuracy on a larger scale could result more significant gallons unaccounted. Let’s test this by looking at a 30,000 gallon tank that’s 50% full:

Ultrasonic readings for 30,000 gallon tank

Metric

Mechanical Gauge Gauge Reader Tank Monitor Ultrasonic Tank Monitor

Actual Tank
Fill Level

30,000 gallon tank with 15,000 gallons of fuel. 50% fill level 30,000 gallon tank with 15,000 gallons of fuel. 50% fill level 30,000 gallon tank with 15,000 gallons of fuel. 50% fill level

Measurement Reading

+8% = 58% fill = 17,400 gallons
-8% = 42% fill =  12,600 gallons

 +11% = 61% = 18,300 gallons
-11% = 39% = 14,700 gallons
+1% = 51% = 15,600 gallons
-1% = 49% = 14,400 gallons
Gallons
Inaccurate
± 2,400 gallons inaccurate ± 3,300 gallons inaccurate

± 600 gallons inaccurate

 

Looking at the differences in this scenario, gauge readers can be inaccurate by as much as 3,300 gallons for a 30,000 gallon bulk tank, while ultrasonic systems inaccuracy allows for up to 600 gallons.

That’s 2,700 gallons that you’ve now accounted for when managing your inventory using an ultrasonic system.

Compatible with any tank – No reliance on Remote Ready Technology

Ultrasonic systems give propane marketers the ability to take measurements without relying on any existing gauges. So not only will you be able to get more accurate readings, but you’ll be able to measure any tank in your inventory, even older tanks with rotary gauges.

Key Advantages of Xact Ultrasonic Design

External Mounting for quick and easy install

Xact Ultrasonic for Bulk Storage Propane Tanks Xact Ultrasonic Sonar Transducer

Because of the Xact Ultrasonic system is totally external design, you are able to enjoy Ultrasonic accuracy at an affordable price, with no need to decommission your tank. Save time, hours, and energy needing to retrofit or make any tank modifications. You can self-install the Xact Ultrasonic system in roughly 30 minutes and get back to your daily schedule.

If you’d like to learn more, reach out to xactsales@xact-data.com for more information.